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the Russian Federation had confirmed that all gold mining activities had been halted and that the areas concerned were under rehabilitation. IUCN understands that in 1998 a plan to exclude lands associated within industrial activities from the territory of the national park was assessed by a Russian expert commission as a threat to the park, including the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property. A negative decision was passed by the State Environmental Committee (Order 408 of 3 July 1998). No details of the other developments referred to are provided by the State Party, and whilst the presence of a pre-existing water supply may not pose a large ongoing threat, the impacts of a gas pipeline and three other quarried areas could be more significant.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that permitting mining the property is also directly contrary to the clearly stated policy that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, as recognised by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and other industry lead bodies, and endorsed by the World Heritage Committee. Proceeding with a 20 km2 open cast gold mining development within the World Heritage property would have significant potential to lead to impacts on its Outstanding Universal Value. Considering the past advice of the World Heritage Committee, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the de facto licensing of mining within the Virgin Komi Forests World Heritage property could potentially present a basis for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Draft Decision:

34 COM 7B.25

The World Heritage Committee,

  • 1.

    Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add,

  • 2.

    Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.31, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

  • 3.

    Strongly regrets that the State Party appears to have licensed a significant open cast

gold mining operation within the World Heritage property, and has also excised other areas from protected status, and also regrets that the State Party did not take into account the previous requests of the World Heritage Committee in taking these actions;

  • 4.

    Notes that the boundaries of the World Heritage property as inscribed by the Committee have not been amended, and therefore requests the State Party to reconsider its recent boundary demarcation exercises in order to restore the protected status of all areas within the World Heritage property, including all areas that have recently been excluded from the Yugyd Va National Park;

  • 5.

    Strongly urges the State Party of the Russian Federation to take all necessary steps, with provincial and local government as appropriate, to immediately halt mining activities within the property;

  • 6.

    Calls on all companies holding licenses for mining in the World Heritage property, with the support of their investors, to not proceed with mining activities, in line with the international policy statement of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties, as also endorsed by the World Heritage Committee;

  • 7.

    Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property, in order to review the mining threats to the property,

State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List

WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 53

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